The world is always changing, and as a result, businesses have to change with it. Gone are the days of traveling sales agents and calling in to purchasing from magazines. Technology has thrust all types of businesses into the 21st century and continues to drive development in many industries. This means if you’re not keeping up with all the changes in business, your own enterprise might fall behind. Whether you own a small business or run a large company, there are plenty of ways implementing new tech systems and devices can help you grow your business and soar to new heights.
Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when discussing business technology is the IT department. Your very own force of computer experts who help you keep everything updated and running smoothly. If your company is large enough, you might keep an IT department on staff, but many businesses can’t afford this option because it adds employees to the payroll. That’s when outsourcing IT becomes an integral step in business. You can look for IT providers in your area, such as a Houston Managed IT Services Provider, or talk to other business owners and see what their solution is. Often, paying a company a monthly or annual rate to be on call for you is a great way to get the support you need at a price you can afford.
Another option to consider is a web-based approach to IT. This can be useful in small businesses because it can often greatly reduce the cost of technology in your business. You can look for cloud or internet-based systems to keep your information secure and also allow employees to access it from anywhere in the world, not just in the office. This is a great option that can keep you from spending thousands of dollars on specific software that you’ll have to install on every computer and keep updating throughout the years. Things like the Google Suite or AirTable can be a great launch pad for small businesses who need their handful of employees to all be privy to the same information. Most web-based databases or systems require a low monthly fee for unlimited use and storage, which makes it the most cost efficient.
Another great way to help build your business is to make your team more productive by keeping everyone on the same page. It might sound like a hard task, even with a small staff, but there are plenty of tools out there to help you accomplish exactly this goal. It’s difficult to find a skilled project manager for every new campaign your business has, but with apps such as Basecamp or Trello, everyone on your staff can pitch in to make sure projects are being completed correctly and on time. Another app growing in popularity is Slack, which is a chat app companies can use so employees can stay informed on various tasks and projects. One feature that makes it so popular is that ability to create different chats, or channels, for different groups and topics. So you could have your marketing team in one chat, your development team in another, and a third to combine the two for a new product campaign.
A time tracking software is another great way to boost your team’s productivity. It allows you to track things like hours worked, what times most people are active, and how much time is truly needed to complete a task. It also helps to increase accountability among your team, which can boost productivity all on its own. There are plenty of time tracking softwares out there, such as Time Doctor or Toggl, so you can research which platform would work best for your company based on its functions and additional services.
Using technological options to outsource your customer service is yet another convenient way to let technology help you grow your business. If your business relies heavily on incoming calls, you can use an answering service or automated phone tree to help people reach the correct personnel quicker. This can help to prevent your main phone lines from clogging up with calls that might not even need to go to your office. You can also implement a help desk system for customers on your website where they can submit complaints or problems, and a member of your staff will contact them with solutions. Customers love this option because it saves them time on the phone and they can circle back to solving the problem at their convenience. Your website can be more than just a source for information, though. You can even allow customers to schedule appointments via your website and have those appointments automatically added to your calendar. This takes out the step of having to call people to ask if they need anything and finding time in your schedule. These scheduling softwares will only offer available slots on your calendar, and will even send confirmation and reminder emails so the customer doesn’t forget about their appointment. It helps you schedule more people and increases your rate of completed meetings.
Social media is a great way to interact with clients on their turf. You can conduct surveys through the comments, host giveaways for people, or just keep an eye on how big your customer base is. It even gives you an insight into your consumer base that can help you better market your products and stay on top of rising trends. So if you don’t have social media accounts for your business, set some up and start building a presence on a few platforms.
Now more than ever, more and more businesses are going remote by offering telecommute positions or work from home options. This can be a great way to keep employees productive and motivated even when they can’t or don’t come into the office. One major concern with remote workers is the communication issue. You want to make sure they can still pop in to meetings and communicate their progress and ideas with everyone in the company. Giving them a company laptop or cloud-based company email can help them stay in touch with their coworkers, but you also should consider remote communication options for times when you need to simulate a face-to-face experience. Video conference apps such as Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, or BlueJeans are all great options to video someone into a meeting or to set up conference calls with audio only. They’re universally free to users, which makes it easy for people to jump on whether or not they’re within your company.
As for the employees who may have previously worked at the office but are now working from home, you can still supply them with things like an office phone or fax line through their computer. There are plenty of online services your company can partner with to establish these basic office tools all on one computer. That way neither you nor your employees don’t need to purchase any equipment for their home office.
Technology has changed the business world in a number ways, but it has also made it easier for you to grow your business in these four different ways.
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